What’s that food?

This month’s What’s That Food has its roots in the Andes Mountains, and is native to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. It can also be found growing as far north as Mexico and as far south as Argentina.

The granadilla is a small fruit that is sometimes called sweet granadilla. Passiflora ligularis is one of over 550 species in this flowering vine genus. A granadilla is round in shape, with a slight tapering at the stem. 

Most fruit grows between five and seven centimeters in diameter. When unripe it is green but as it ripens it turns to an orangey-yellow, with skin that can sometimes have light white spots.

Photo credit: Cheryl Young/Salty

The skin of the fruit is tough, shiny, and hard, and only the inside flesh is edible. Cut a granadilla in half and you will discover white flesh surrounding the skin with a centre of greenish jelly-like pulp that contains black seeds. The pulp and seeds are the edible parts of this fruit. Simply scoop out and consume raw.

The taste is subtle but sweet and has been compared to a kiwi. The seeds and pulp can be added to fruit salads or blended into smoothies. It can also be used in salad dressings or in desserts.

The fruit is high in fiber and sugar, with vitamins A, C, and B6. It also has a high iron content and in one study was shown to have richer levels of plant polyphenols than many other tropical fruits, including banana, lychee, mango, papaya, and pineapple.

Granadilla is a vigorous flowering vine, and can grow up to 15 or 20 feet in a growing season. It grows best in subtropical climates, with plenty of rain, and does not grow well in extreme heat. The plant produces one crop a year.

The origin of the passion fruit name is said to have come from Jesuit priests who first visited South America in the 1500s. They were drawn to the vine’s stunning flowers and found religious symbolism in it. The flowers’ various parts were compared to the crucifixion (or Passion) of Christ.

Granadilla is best ripened at room temperature and then stored in the refrigerator for two or three days. The pulp and seeds can also be frozen for later consumption.

About Cheryl Young

A “Jill of all trades” describes Cheryl to a T. From operating her own handyperson company, to selling luxury cars, to working as a film and TV crew member, her resume is diverse. But her dream as a kid was to be a journalist and she started down that path many years ago at CBC Charlottetown. Returning to her journalism roots, she’s excited to be editing Salty’s content and occasionally writing herself.

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